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GETTING YOUR BABY TO EAT HEALTHY

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I know, I know… When you’re a hands-on parent, it’s already difficult enough to think about what to put in the table for the adults on a daily basis so to think about adding another task for the young member of the family is going to be an extra challenge.

But what can we do? We brought them out into this world out of love, so it’s just right to look after them and make sure that they eat healthy, right? It might be a bit tricky for on-the-go moms or dads out there but planning is the key.

In this article, we hope to share some tips on how to get our babies or young kids to eat healthy. I know for a fact that we all want that, don’t we? So here you’ll find easy ways on how to get them to love eating fruits and vegetables, what to feed them, what to avoid and a few recipes that can last you for a week so you don’t have to keep thinking about what to cook next. This is what I do or what I have been doing for my toddler, so I hope this will also work out for your little one.

Just so we are clear, I am not a professional or a medical specialist for this field but I’m sharing these because we all need ideas from other mums. These are tips based on experience from raising a kid for a full-time, so I hope you can pick up something from it!

MAKE YOUR OWN BABY FOOD

When you aim to have a kid that eats healthy, you start them young. We all know that weaning a baby begins at 6 months of age, but other moms do it earlier, like around 4 or 5 months. I recommend that you speak with your baby specialist or your health visitor on when to start weaning your baby.

I started weaning my first born when he was 6 months old. For the first week, I began with pureed food and fed it to him once a day while the rest of the meals everyday were breastmilk. I gradually changed it to a more frequent meal as the weeks went by until he got used to it. Also, I didn’t eliminate the milk. I still fed him milk in between the pureed food as it is vital for a baby to have milk as his main source of nutrients.

When I started weaning my baby, I didn’t rely on ready-made baby food as I know that there may still be preservatives added to it. I made his own baby food using different vegetables and fruits. I made sure that I introduce one vegetable or fruit at a time at the early stages.

When they start eating solid foods, make sure that you also provide a balanced diet. You can add different kinds of vegetables in small portions on your little one’s plate, your choice of meat(whether that’s fish, or other animal meat) and also fruits.

CHOOSE INGREDIENTS THAT ARE ORGANICALLY GROWN

As much as possible, choose your food wisely. Find vegetables and fruits that are organically grown so you’ll feel safer on what you’re feeding your baby. We know that it can be a bit of a challenge these days to stick to organic food but whenever possible, it’s always better to choose the healthier option.

If you are a gifted mum who can grow your own vegetables in your home garden, the better! This would save you from sourcing the vegetables from big shops, and the best part is you save more money too!

EAT WITH YOUR BABY and BE A ROLE MODEL

Eating with your baby helps establish proper eating habits. For some people, this may not be possible especially for those who have full-time jobs. But if you are a stay-at-home mum and have all the time to spend with your kid/s, eat with them so your little ones see you eating the same food with them. Doing this also creates a bonding experience between you and your dear baby, and when they get older, they’ll pick up the same eating habits from you.

If you eat unhealthy food yourself, your baby will also end up eating the same kind of food as you.

AVOID UNNECESSARY AND UNHEALTHY SNACKS

We know that you’ll find a lot of snacks that are advertised online and on other media channels. Sometimes people are just so consumed with retail buying that even if it is unnecessary, we just buy it because we see it advertised so much and it can be very enticing. The trouble about that is we sometimes don’t realise that these snacks are actually unnecessary and most of them are unhealthy.

What we also need to be mindful of are sugar and salt. If you’re trying to make you baby or kids have a healthier choice of food, you should realise that excessive sugar and salt are not good. In fact, at their early age, they do not need them. So as much as possible, try not to introduce them chocolates, candies, crisps and the like.

If you want to lean towards a healthier snack, try giving them vegetables and fruits for their snacks such as peas, carrot sticks, cucumber sticks, apples, pears, bananas, etc. If you want to give them biscuits, you can give them biscuits that are not high in sugar, or better yet, bake them yourself so you know that there are no harmful additives in it. You can make big batches of biscuits every week so you don’t have to keep baking daily whenever you run out of it.

SOME EASY FOOD IDEAS TO PREPARE FOR YOUR BABY

(for babies over a year old)

I read a lot of articles so I can get helpful insights about what I should feed or not feed my baby. I follow the NHS site especially when it comes to immediate advice and guidance in situations that doesn’t require us to see a specialist. Below are some of the ideas I got from National Health Service UK website, and I have personally followed them for my baby:

BREAKFAST

  • Unsweetened porridge with mashed fruit such as banana or ripe pear
  • Toast fingers with mashed banana and smooth peanut butter   
  • Whole wheat cereal biscuit (low sugar option) with whole milk and fruit
  • Hard-boiled egg, slices of tomato, banana, apple or ripe pear or peach
  • Toast fingers, scrambled egg, slices of tomato, banana, apple or ripe pear or peach

LUNCH

  • Rice with mixed vegetables like mashed peas, sliced carrots, broccoli florets
  • Cooked pasta pieces and cauliflower cheese
  • Baked beans (reduced sugar and salt) and toast fingers
  • Scrambled egg with toast fingers, and vegetable sticks
  • Mashed potatoes, cooked fish or chicken
  • Rice with shredded fish or chicken, with mixed vegetables

DINNER

  • Minced chicken with mashed potatoes
  • Shredded fish, with mashed potatoes, carrots and broccoli
  • Cooked pasta in red sauce using real tomatoes
  • Mixed boiled vegetables such as squash, potatoes, mashed peas, and sliced carrots
  • Cauliflower cheese with cooked pasta or rice, and minced beef

SNACKS:

  • Home-baked biscuits with no or very low sugar
  • Air-fried potato or sweet potato chips
  • Carrot sticks
  • Cucumber sticks

(Reminder: when serving food to your child, make sure that you observe proper hygiene by washing your hands before and after handling food, also wash the vegetables and fruits thoroughly before cooking or serving, and ensure that all ingredients such as vegetables, pasta, rice and meats are cooked well)

When my little started eating proper food, he rarely finished animal meat. He’d have a taste of whatever meat I serve him but would not finish the entire thing. He prefers vegetables and fruits over animal meat, and I have never forced him to be that way. He loves pasta, bread, and rice so I don’t really have a hard time feeding him. Now that he’s older, I don’t have to cook separately for him because he would just eat the food as ours, but I do make sure that the food I serve him doesn’t have the salt and sugar. Whenever I cook food for the family, I add the seasonings towards the end, right after I set aside a portion for our little boy.

It is so much easier when you build a healthy eating habit with your baby, and this benefits you as the parent as it will save you so much time and effort and headache in preparing your kid’s food.

I hope these tips and ideas are handy for you. Do bear in mind that every child is different and their preferences may also change from time to time.

My very last tip is – be patient with your child. It will be messy and frustrating because of all the cleaning up that you need to do after. But that’s how it is, and he’ll eventually learn how to properly eat when he gets older.

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2 Comments

  1. This is really good – so helpful, despite the fact I’m past the baby years I’m still very much living the toddler fussiness! I feel likes it’s such a win when she eats something that I’ve hidden loads of veggies in!

    1. Thank you Rebecca! Lol I so feel you. I do the same thing, I hide other veggies too that he’s not so keen with under a pile of his favourites. But toddlers are very smart, they can tell when there’s something they don’t like in it. 😀

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